The Queen has finally starred in the Prince Andrew saga, but her decision to end his royal career is too little, too late.
Traditionally, the title of Duke of York goes to the second son of a monarch, and this custom dates back to the 14th century, when King Edward III got the idea into his head and passed it on to his son Edmund Langley. Like his uncle David and his venomous title of the Duke of Windsor, today I think we can safely say that the current Duke of York will also be the last, so venomous has the title become.
Overnight in London, Buckingham Palace released one of its legendaryly brief statements (a shockingly sparse 42 words) showing that Prince Andrew, Duke of York has been stripped of his honorary military posts and official patronage and that he will no longer use his style. as “His Royal Highness”.
He will now be fighting a civil sexual harassment case he faces in the United States as a “private individual” as Virginia Giuffre (née Roberts) accused him three times of abusing her when she was a teenager. rejected.
Palace move brings a 61-year-old friend of the billionaire despots and the man who made his valet travel with an ironing board along with his nephew and niece Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Likewise, they lost their official roles and the ability to deploy their Royal Highnesses in a big way when they had the temerity to step out of the monarchy game (royal to royal?).
But I’m sorry, Your Majesty. Andrew’s move today is too small, too late.
Time and time again over the past two and a half years, she has shown a horrendous lack of leadership when it comes to Andrew, defending her dear boy instead of doing what is morally right and putting his inflated ego over what is best for him. monarchy.
The entire Andrew fiasco has been epically mishandled by the palace since 2011, when a photo of Andrew enjoying a walk in Central Park with Jeffrey Epstein, by then a registered sex offender, appeared on the cover of newspapers on February 20. Six days later, Giuffre made public allegations of her connection to Andrew for the first time and showed the infamous photo of him hugging her around the waist. (Only later did she claim she was forced to have sex with him.)
Instead of making her son pay any price for his horrific trial, the next month the Queen decided to give him a shiny new medal in a big show of royal support, bestowing on him the insignia of a Knight Grand Cross. Royal Victorian Order before a joint tea party.
The same in July 2019 when Epstein was arrested on sex trafficking charges. Forcing her son to face the consequences of his hopelessly condemned actions?
As if. She crammed a former spare in a Savile Row suit into the back of her custom-built Bentley with extra-large windows for photographers and the public to see, and drove him to church in front of the press. Mommy stood next to her boy!
It was only in November of that year, after Andrew gave arguably the most damning royal interview (sorry Harry and Meghan, you did your best) in history and managed to spend two hours telling the BBC’s Emily Maitlis how much of a victim he was. . never uttered a single word of sympathy for Epstein’s victims, which the queen finally answered.
Even then, just a few days later, faced with a tsunami of seething global public anger over the situation, and with Prince Charles and Prince William reportedly pushing her into drastic action, finally the Queen effectively forced Andrew to step back from public life. .
However, the former failed trade envoy continued to carry out his military functions, including as a colonel in the Grenadier Guards, and was able to use his style as His Royal Highness. Less than half a year ago, in August last year, even after the statements of high-ranking military sources, one of whom reported once it was “unacceptable or disadvantageous” for him to retain his role as a guard, the queen “reported this to the regiment”, she wanted him to retain the prestigious position.
That Her Majesty only bitten into his military roles and is now His Royal Highness is her eternal discredit. No one has forgotten and will not forget that she waited 790 days on the St. Andrew’s Front after her hand was forced by the events of the last 36 hours.
The latest news came after a judge in New York on Thursday rejected Andrew’s attempts to dismiss Ms. Giuffre’s case, which would see him appear in court later this year.
Then on Thursday in the UK, 152 veterans came together to express their outrage in an open letter, writing: “We are especially upset and outraged that Prince Andrew remains in the military and continues to hold military ranks, positions and ranks. “
It seems that the 95-year-old woman is only now taking action because, as with the Newsnight interview, her actions were forced by events.
(Keep in mind, too, that Buckingham Palace is busy preparing for the big fun celebrations to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. It’s best to get all that nasty business out of the way before anyone starts clearing the tables on the goats for the street parties, whatever!)
What’s more, this headline news is like trying to put a baby Mickey Mouse Band-Aid on a mortar wound from a monarchy’s point of view. If anyone currently enjoying a cup of Earl Gray while ensconced in a castle believes that this military role and His Royal Highness’ maneuver will cauterize reputational bleeding, then they are simply mistaken.
Yes, Andrew was never charged with a crime, and there was never any suggestion that he might be.
What is flawless, however, is that he chose – CHOSEN – to spend five nights under the same roof with a man who had been convicted of a sex crime. That in itself should have been reason enough for Her Majesty to take decisive action to keep the monarchy safe from fallout contamination.
What cannot be reversed, amended or glossed over in a press release is the irreparable damage the Queen has done to the reputation of the British Royal Family and the Crown.
Prince Louis may be only three years old, but if things had turned out differently, he might one day expect to be Duke of York. Never ever.
Now, 636 years after the title of the House of York was created, the last holder of the dukedom will likely spend the rest of his desultory life hunched over in front of the TV, watching golf on Sky and probably doing his best not to think about his numerous, many mistakes.
How proud the queen is of her son today.
Daniela Elzer is a royal expert and writer with over 15 years of experience working with a range of leading Australian media outlets.